December 17, 2006

Marketing Irony.

Those of you in the Mac community may have noticed a bit of a kerfuffle happening over the last week concerning MacHeist and whether it is good for small developers. I won't recreate a laundry list of links for you here, if you've missed out just follow this google search. As well, I've already stated my opinions, on Ars Technica, so I'm not going to go over them again here in my little vanity blog.

However, I did want to mention one ironic point that gives me a chuckle. Several of the independent developers who are complaining how unfair MacHeist is treating the software companies that have participated in their bundle seem to be, well, almost disgusted by marketing. Marketing is this nasty thing that lessens the value of whatever it is you're trying to sell.

I, obviously, don't mind marketing, and in fact some might call me (without malice) a marketing whore. This is a difference of opinion, though, and I am not going to try to evangelize my position on this. If you think marketing is dirty, well, ok. Nobody is getting hurt with your opinion, except possibly you. It's not like you're saying, "I think we can't tax oil because grandmothers would freeze in New England," which statement I would feel compelled to refute.

So, the irony here is that EVERYONE is making out like bandits because of this controversy. Every day this week another blog or journal or tech site has written about the controversy, and it makes headlines on the various meta-sites, and more people click through the stories to MacHeist and the individual sites of the various software developers in question, and all of our sales increase. The guys who participated in MacHeist, the guys who objected to it -- we're all getting paid now. And we're getting paid to keep arguing with each other. Seriously, if I were a crasser man (yes, there is a limit, thank you) I would be writing other developers right now, saying, "Ok, now you call me a stupid-face, and then I'll call your mom fat, and then..."

When you're a small developer, eyeballs == sales, because your biggest problem is simply that people haven't heard of you. It really is the case that any publicity is good publicity. I don't care if you came to my site because you heard a rumor that I like to keep a goat and a chicken in my bathroom, you're still going to end up reading about my product, and about one in ten people who read about it try it out. Ka-ching.

Extremely cynical viewers might even assume this entire scandal was cooked up by the indie community as an attention-getting measure. Personally, I doubt the original objectors were that scheming, but I do get a chuckle out of the idea that they have, accidentally and unwittingly, used the basest form of marketing (scandal and controversy) and increased their sales, in their effort to decry the evils of marketing.


Imagine you spotted someone who was yelling in the middle of the street for some damn reason, and you approached them and asked them to keep their voice down in public, and someone else walked by and said, "Good point! Here's $1,000!" With that boost, that vote of confidence, wouldn't you, maybe, start looking for other arguments you could make in public? And if you got paid $1,000 again, don't you think you'd maybe take that positive feedback and eventually spend all your time arguing in public, maybe even standing in the middle of the street yelling?

I wonder if they'll give away this dirty money, or let themselves be infected by it. I'm going to keep it, myself -- I didn't start this argument, I just signed up to be in a bundle I thought would be a lark. But, hey, thanks for the extra customers, guys. If you'd like to debate, say, politics next time, I'll be right here.


PS to other developers: Your mom really is fat. Seriously. She's so fat she has a trash bag for a sock. When she hauls ass it takes two trips. She's so ugly you could press her face in dough and make monster cookies. She's so hairy it looks like she has Don King in a headlock.

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Anonymous Steve Streza said...

Your momma's like an HTML page. Tiny head, HUGE body.

December 17, 2006 2:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When she hauls ass it takes two trips."


December 17, 2006 3:06 PM

Blogger Tristan O'Tierney said...

Your mom's so fat that before God said let there be light, he told your mom to get her fat ass out of the way.

December 17, 2006 3:07 PM

Anonymous Enzo90910 said...

Wil, one might argue that every time you talked about George W. Bush and his policies, you gave him publicity he didn't deserve. One might even say that some people reading you could find themselves inclined to vote for him just because of the bias you so willingly show in your writings.
To which you could answer that even if it was the case, talking about politics and your beliefs is never a bad thing and makes democracy wins in the long run, and you would be right.
Developers criticizing MacHeist may have benefitted, or not, from the publicity. They may feel that the publicity it gave MacHeist itself was a bad thing, and still feel it was an overall good to speak their mind about it.
Also, I find your final argument a bit strange: "I don't care if it's dirty money because I didn't start it"? You probably should have instead restated why you think MacHeist is a good thing, since we don't all read Ars Technica (I assume).
That said, I don't have an opinion about the heist yet, and I certainly don't like Mr. Bush.

December 17, 2006 3:12 PM

Anonymous Matt Tavares said...

You want to support indie mac developers, you buy their software through them, not through a huge discounted bundle that leaves developers with 5% of what is rightfully their money.

Its not THAT macheist is selling quality applications for low, low prices. Its that macheist is trying to act like their supporting mac developers, when they are taking away from them.

Im with Gus Mueller on this one, I just want it to be fair.

December 17, 2006 3:25 PM

Blogger Wil Shipley said...

Ah, but it was never my position that "marketing" is a dirty proposition. I think marketing is perfectly acceptable if what you're selling is something you truly believe in.

I do think using controversy intentionally as a marketing tool is a bit slimey, which is why I've kept relatively quiet about this (compared to the amount I normally participate in flame wars).

Even in this post, I didn't really try to defend marketing or not marketing, I just pointed out that arguing is a very effective way to market.

December 17, 2006 3:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe it also depends on how much money the indie developer was making before the bundle. If they sold a total of 1000.00 thru their own site, they get 100% of that. If the bundle sold 100,000 worth of sales at %5, it worked out to be a good deal for the indie developer.

No one was forced to sign the deal. I am sure it worked out great for all the devs involved.

December 17, 2006 6:03 PM

Anonymous Brett said...

I bought the macheist bundle. I now have a bunch of apps that I am using that I otherwise would not be.

I've already decided I'm going to keep using 3 of the bundle apps, which means I will be buying any necessary upgrades in the future.

That's 3 developers who will be getting my money that otherwise would not be getting it, thanks to macheist.

All this talk about it being unfair is a bunch of nonsense. The developers involved CHOSE to be involved. They knew what they were getting in to.

I have a feeling they will reap the benefits of being involved for some time to come.


December 17, 2006 6:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The developers involved CHOSE to be involved."


Thank god for free "Wil" :P

December 17, 2006 7:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a bargain shopper, I would have bought into the MH bundle alone for the value, except that I already have licenses for any of the apps in there that are actually useful. And even a few that aren't, such as Delicious Library. :P Essentially I would have been getting FotoMagico and iClip for $50, and I don't really care for either.

"so hairy it looks like she has Don King in a headlock"

thanks for the mental image. I'm going to go puke now.

December 17, 2006 7:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marketing in itself is not a bad thing. However, using CHARITY as a marketing tactic, which MacHeist clearly did (i.e. the charity money raised scoreboard on every page), for anything other than raising money for charity is evil.

And while yes, they're donating 25% to charity, the other 75% is pure profit after paying off the costs (you the developer, web hosting, advertising, etc)

If the rumors are true and each developer got somewhere around $5,000 - 15,000 for the rights to sell your app for a week, that makes it roughly $100,000 to pay the 10 developers. Let's assume they hit $200,000 in charity money, which at 25% makes the grand total around $800,000: $200,000 to charity, $100,000 to the developers, and $500,000, yes HALF A MILLION DOLLARS to the MacHeist crew. Even after paying for bandwidth and advertising and whatever the other costs are (not a whole lot) that's a hell of a lot of money for what they did (also not a whole lot... a nice website and some gimmicky "heists", arranging advertising and deals with developers, and...well that's about it).

Whereas, you, the developer who has worked full time on your application for years (and will now get to deal with even more tech support requests) got between around 33 cents and $1 per copy (depending on whether you got $5,000 to $15,000) of your software sold that normally sells for $40.

It just seems wrong to me.

December 17, 2006 8:05 PM

Anonymous Gus Mueller said...

Oh man, I hope I don't get lumped into the side that thinks marketing is evil. Because I don't. Just want to say that outloud :)

In fact, I paid for ad placement on MyDreamApp when that was going 'round.

Marketing == Good. Everyone here that? Gus isn't a complete moron...

December 17, 2006 10:05 PM

Anonymous Eric Peacock said...

The buzz on the Heist got my attention and I bought it. Without the controversy I might have put it aside and forgotten about it. My employer, a naming and branding company in Seattle, recently had one of our name/brands get a similar form of "free" advertising via controversy. This stuff works. Really well. It's great to see the shareware world get that kind of attention.

I hope there is no scam involved and all the money is fairly distributed, as you could do this without the charity part and still probably do a successful sale.

The included apps are good enough that I wish more folks were aware of them, and now it appears that the spotlight is bigger for all as Wil points out.

My initial thought was sadness as I use and like Gus' VoodooPad and it wasn't in there. After thinking that I began reading about the "controversy" that came out of this and eventually ended up buying the bundle myself.

I already have a VoodooPad license anyway, but I'd have loved to spread it around more. Some folks can't wrap their head around why it's a great tool – they need incentive to try it!

This whole thing has been loads of fun to follow and has probably given us all something to think about.

December 17, 2006 11:05 PM

Blogger Apt said...

Gus, I'm sure nobody thinks you're a moron... just a poor speller :)

Voodoopad FTW!

December 17, 2006 11:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether the MacHeist people fork over some of their revenues to charity has precisely zero impact on whether I'll buy from them. I don't buy overpriced candy bars from the kids who come around my neighborhood looking to raise money for their school activities, but I DO buy girl scout cookies, just about every year.

Why? Because the candy is the same as I can get anywhere else, only more expensive, and the cookies are really GOOD, and they're priced at a point that I find reasonable.

This is the wonderful thing about a relatively free economy. We get a marvelous array of choices about what we want to spend our money on, and the sellers can try out any combination of quality, pricing, or psychology to try to make the sale. Some tactics work, some don't, some work on me, some work on people with a different mind-set.

The long and short of it is, there is NO moral issue here at all. The MacHeist promoters offered a deal to the software developers, and they offered a deal to the public, and everyone who participated did so voluntarily.

It really seems to me that some people are just putting way too much effort into finding something to get into a snit about.


December 17, 2006 11:17 PM

Anonymous David Young said...

Yo' momma so ugly she tried to take a bath the water jumped out!

Hey-o! Happy Holidays, Mac commuity!

December 18, 2006 12:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe I missed something, but I can't conceive of who it is you think is against marketing. I thought the complaints were about the perception that marketing people were getting an unfairly large cut compared to the developers.

December 18, 2006 2:39 AM

Anonymous Rafe Saltman said...

Your momma so fat she butters her margarine before she eats the Crisco!

December 18, 2006 7:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Marketing is this nasty thing that lessons the value of whatever it is you're trying to sell."

Ironically, the goal IS to lesson the value of what you're trying to sell, although I'm pretty sure you mean lessen. ;)

(Sorry for the nit, but c'mon, how many typos turn out to still make perfect sense?)

December 18, 2006 8:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude, you're hilarious. seriously good yo momma jokes.

December 18, 2006 8:47 AM

Anonymous charles said...

I agree MacHeist may be good marketing, and I even think that they deserve whatever money they get, but there are 2 things that disgusted me on this one:

* Using "charity" as a way to make the thing look better

* More problematic: they appropriated the brand "Mac Independent Developer" and make it theirs, like they owned it and represented all of them; this is really what comes out of reading the MacHeist page; I am not surprised many developers get pissed off by this; it is like their names are being used without their consentment

December 18, 2006 10:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erik Peacock wrote:
I hope there is no scam involved and all the money is fairly distributed

We know it isn't. That was in Gus' original post on the topic. They get a flat fee for participating, while MacHeist takes all the money from the bundle sales (less 25% for charity). The question is just whether you care about the money being fairly distributed. Some people don't, since they figure they wouldn't have gotten the money anyway, and now at least they have more users even if those users didn't pay them for the app.

December 18, 2006 11:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wil I'm not sure where you got the idea that the developers who have commented on MacHeist are 'anti-marketting'. The two issues that have been discussed are the fairness of the deal (or lack there of) and the false characterisation in the marketing material that the whole event is about supporting the indie devs when it's clearly doing a lot more to line the pockets of the organisers than any one else.

December 18, 2006 11:46 AM

Anonymous Kerri said...

I too am confused by the 'marketing is evil' thing. I don't think I've seen anything said about marketing being bad.

What *is* bad, though, is deceptive hype marketing shams.

How was MacHeist deceptive? Well, it's clear that they never had any intention of *not* giving out serials to locked apps, since folks were getting serials to locked apps before they were unlocked. The whole 'locked' thing was a crock.

Some might say, "That doesn't matter -- it worked out great for everyone!" Doesn't matter. A lie's a lie. What else did they lie about?

As for hype? Had it in spades. Makes me feel the need to take a shower.

When the profit of the marketer is greater than the profit of the developer (and in this case, significantly greater than the TOTAL of ALL developers), that's a sham.

When those telemarketers call you and ask you to donate money to the police department or the fire department, ask them what the telemarketer's cut is. It's usually somewhere around EIGHTY PERCENT. No. I'm not going to give a marketer my money, even if twenty percent *is* going to the police/firefighters. The marketers bank on you not knowing about that 80/20 split, just as MacHeist folks banked on you not finding out what a rotten deal the developers were getting.

And it makes me lose respect for those police and fire departments and developers, too, that they're feeding the machine.

December 18, 2006 12:18 PM

Blogger Wil Shipley said...

The "anti-marketing" meme is a my (possibly inaccurate) synthesis of what I felt when reading the anti-Heist posts and the positive responses to them.

I agree that lots of people also seem to be pro-marketing, but not pro-paying-for-marketing.

If you look at any other bundle in the history of software, the developer gets a tiny fraction of the purchase price. Mathematica was bundled for $1/machine, and that was one of the highest deals I've heard of.


PS: Those "yo mamma" jokes were all stolen from M.C. Hawking. Check him out.

December 18, 2006 12:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's one other thing I haven't seen mentioned in this whole argument that I think is a serious concern. This one deal may or may not be a very good deal for developers. (Personally, I think it's a rather poor deal for developers - but that's neither here nor there.)

The problem is that once you publicly state the terms of a deal like this, it becomes harder for developers to get better deals. Other companies that might take a smaller cut suddenly think they have the right to take a larger cut, whether they do or not.

Initially, it might not be a big deal because developers who got better deals in the past can use the leverage of those past deals to fight it. But I've seen markets that end up going down the drain as a result of a few unfair deals by powerful players in a particular market. (Not that the MacHeist guys are real power players by any means.)

In fact, didn't Wil write about how crappy deals with companies like Navarro are? (You know, the only company you can go through to get your stuff on store shelves in places like the Apple Stores and CompUSA.) This is where it starts. A small company like the Mac Heist outfit start off with these moderately bad deals now, then as they grow, offer worse and worse deals. Eventually, they're one of 2 or 3 companies that can distribute your software widely, and they want 60% and won't do any promotion for you, just like Navarro. (Either that, or they get bought by someone like Navarro. The result is the same.)

I'm not saying it has to be that way, but I have yet to see it ever not end up that way.

December 18, 2006 12:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the problem with the charity angle? To be clear, sure, it helps raise sales. If I were on the fence, perhaps knowing 25% of my money goes to charity would have sealed the deal.

Am I the only one who thinks 25% is a large amount for charity? When other companies advertise that a "portion of proceeds are donated to ..." does anybody think it's even half that much?

Selling 800k gross and donating 200k to charity seems awfully nice to me.

And to those who feel the developers got a bad deal? I was "THIS CLOSE" to buying NewsFire about 10 times. I ended up buying the Heist before NewsFire was unlocked just as I saw it was getting close. That, and FotoMagico alone did the trick for me, and I figured if TextMate came out too, I'd win. And a free game too!

I knew of all four of those products. I do buy a fair amount of shareware, but I never paid for any of them. I already coughed up an extra $10 to the NewsFire developer for perpetual upgrades.

If each of these guys got $5 out of me, except NewsFire who gets $15, they win. Since it's $5 (and $15) more than I would likely have spent, yet now I am a user. And guess what, my site is done in iWeb, but I'll upgrade RapidWeaver anyway - great product, and someday I may find myself using it. And to those whose apps I don't use? It's free money. I suspect a lot of these developers got ??? K for sales that would never happen otherwise.

If MacHeist profits $400k too, good for them. That's why I stay in the good ole free market USA.

December 18, 2006 1:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eventually, they're one of 2 or 3 companies that can distribute your software widely, and they want 60% and won't do any promotion for you

By all accounts, a 40 percent cut for the developers would have been quite generous here.

I understand that marketing people need to get paid, but if we gave our ad reps at the newspaper where I work a 99% commission, there would be no paper for their ads to go in! That's the thought that really made me go "eep" about the pricing.

December 18, 2006 1:15 PM

Anonymous Harvard Irving said...

Those complaining about the charity angle ... I don't know what to say. Giving to charity as part of a commercial promotion is evil? What kind of nonsense is this?

Charities desperately need marketing, and they desperately need money. Do you think all the people who participated in the heist would have gone and given that money to charity just out of good will?

Would you complainers have those charities starve, just to avoid the "taint" of commercially acquired money? It doesn't make any sense. Charity is ultimately about results, not about intentions of the giver. Not about making you feel better and more pure.

I suppose Band Aid was a horrible idea, because it encouraged people to buy the "Do they know it's Christmas" record, instead of giving the money with no incentive?

Sometimes it takes someone with vision to appeal to the baser instincts of the majority, and give to a higher cause. Would it have been better if Macheist used some other incentive to raise their profits, without giving anything to charity?

25% is a damn good deal, and I don't see many other companies donating that kind of money.

December 18, 2006 1:40 PM

Anonymous Pierre Bernard said...

All that MacHeist barking did not get HoudahSpot much exposure. Ooops, guess now it does. Wish I had been in on MacHeist though.

BTW, your mom is so fat, I rolled over twice and I was still on top of her.

December 18, 2006 3:11 PM

Anonymous rjdudley55 said...

i'm only here for the jokes. i'd get out of bed EVERY day just to read those yo momma jokes. i'm tired of caring about who cares about the MacHeist thing. I'm ready for MacHeist II.

December 18, 2006 5:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Upgrades. UPGRADES.
Macheist = new customers who will hopefully pay to upgrade to next version.

December 18, 2006 5:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Piracy = users who will hopefully pay to upgrade to the next version?

BTW, your mamma paid for an upgrade, if you know what I'm sayin'.

December 18, 2006 5:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont think anyone has any problems with marketing. People do have problems with someone proclaiming it the week of the independant mac developer when really its at best the week for 10 developers, one of which was part of the macheist team and one who is good friends with the macheist team.

John Gruber sums it up perfectly as usual. You only need to look at the numbers.

If people really want to support independant devs then they should check out
Atleast there is no middleman taking 85% of the profits there

December 18, 2006 6:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One question: Who held the gun to the heads of the other Macheist participants?


Ahhh! Thought so.

December 18, 2006 6:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

MacSanta doesn't compare. It isn't making me try anything I wouldn't have tried anyway. All THAT does is rob the developers of 20% of a sale, and I get my free upgrades.

MacHeist made me spend a few bucks I wouldn't have spent otherwise. It kept me off of SerialBox. And it will have me giving a few bucks in upgrades to SOME of the developers whose apps I fall in love with. The rest weren't making any money off of me anyway... so the $2 or $3 they got from me is worth it.

December 18, 2006 6:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep seeing comments like the following:

the $2 or $3 they got from me is worth it.

By all indications, the developers got $0 from you when you bought from MacHeist. Proceeds from the sales evidently go two places: Charity and the organizers of MacHeist.

December 18, 2006 6:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

By all indications, the developers got $0 from you when you bought from MacHeist.

Yep thats close to it. MacHeist refuse to release any figures but from what they have said its fairly easy to workout how much the devs got and from that you can easily work out what each copy of each app was essntially sold for.

Im guessing that the amount per developer varies as others have said.

Developers at the bottom end would have got around 30-40 cents per copy.
Developers at the high end would have got 50-60 cents per copy.

Anyone who thinks they are supporting devs by buying the macheist bundle need a reality check.

December 18, 2006 7:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who thinks 25% is a large amount for charity? When other companies advertise that a "portion of proceeds are donated to ..." does anybody think it's even half that much?

I agree. look at Apple and the red iPod nanos. Only $10 from each purchase goes towards charity for those, at $199 for the 4GB and $249 for the 8GB, that's about 5% and 4% of each sale.

December 18, 2006 9:11 PM

Blogger Ryan said...

Yo mama's so fat she got baptized at Sea World.

(I was considering responding about the Heist, but thought better of it)

December 18, 2006 10:29 PM

Blogger Wil Shipley said...

BTW, your mamma paid for an upgrade, if you know what I'm sayin'.

Uh, that you didn't satisfy her?

December 19, 2006 1:01 AM

Blogger Wil Shipley said...

Why aren't you guys boycotting software stores? That system routinely takes 80% of the profits from sales -- IF you manage to make any profit. They have it written into every contract that they don't pay you for ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DAYS. In practice, it's usually longer. They can return your boxes at any time, in any condition, for any reason, bill you back for them, and bill you for the shipping. And, brother, boy do they ever.

MacHeist was a simple gamble. They'll pay $X for the rights to sell your software in the bundle for a week. If they do a good job marketing, they make a profit. If they don't, they take it in the shorts, because you get the $X either way. You also get the new customers and exposure either way.

Where I'm from, that's called a no-lose situation for me, and a risk for them. The biggest risk I figured I was running was saturating the market for Delicious Library 1.0 with bundle purchasers. But, hey, as I've said, I'd rather have ten happy customers that got my software on the cheap and will upgrade than one customer who paid ten times as much.

December 19, 2006 1:06 AM

Blogger Wil Shipley said...

In fact, didn't Wil write about how crappy deals with companies like Navarro are?

Navarre is one of the co-monopolies that screws software makers -- I think Navarro played for Nirvana?

There's good news on that front, though -- Dr. Bott has now gotten into the software distribution business, and deals directly with the Apple Stores. They appear to be good people.

December 19, 2006 1:35 AM

Anonymous Douglas Adams RIP said...

We need to send all these frakking middle-men to Golgafrincham.

Useless turds.

Yes, marketing IS evil. and thanks to web 2.0 its getting worse. Virulent stealth marketing, gaming social news sites like digg, reddit, etc, fake blogs, fake forum posts, fake MySpace pages. At least on the TV you can go and make a cup of tea when the adverts start. Not so on the web. You constantly have to be on guard that some jackass isn't selling you the digital equivalent of a bookshelf...

December 19, 2006 5:03 AM

Anonymous LKM said...

Yeah, well, except you're missing the whole point (and making up a few straw men as you go along). Devs are of course free to get f*'d in the ass as long as they want to. The issue was that people buying the apps thought that they were supporting Mac shareware with their money, when they really were supporting the MacHeist people instead.

December 19, 2006 5:20 AM

Anonymous Brian Ball said...

MacHeist absolutely supported Mac Shareware developers.

All of the people in the Heist team earn their incomes developing, designing, and selling Mac shareware in some form or another.

And, of all the people involved on the bundle side, that I've spoken with, were ecstatic with the results.

So, yes, the envelope has been pushed. You can't just develop a cool app anymore and expect to quit your day job.

Apple, with 150+ retail stores is moving too fast for the individual developer to be a coder, designer, marketer. But, help is on the way. It just might look at first, like highway robbery.

Isn't it funny how we don't care if somebody calls our dad fat?

December 19, 2006 2:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

MacHeist absolutely supported Mac Shareware developers.

All of the people in the Heist team earn their incomes developing, designing, and selling Mac shareware in some form or another.

Why dont all those people get back to actually making apps then.
Sure MacHeist supported shareware developers but they wouldnt have done it if they knew they wernt going to make a massive profit out of it. Then saying its the week of the indpendant mac developer.... Thats just plain wrong.

MacHeist like to make it sound like they are saving the indie mac dev community. Firstly the community doesnt need saving and secondly if they were trying to save anyone then they did a crap job of it considering they made so much more then any of the devs.

You can't just develop a cool app anymore and expect to quit your day job.
Why Not ?
Lots of people do it and do it successfully. And many of those do it without the help of MacHeist or MacZot.

December 19, 2006 3:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Brian you would say that you're indispensable all of a sudden seeing as how you've inserted yourself between developers and their users for 50%+ of the profit practically over night. The whole point of the Internet is that it lets people connect directly with the companies they buy from. The days of the middle men who suck up vast profits for fuck all work while screwing the people who actually make the products are dwindling. Witness the ever growing backlash against the RIAA if you want evidence of that.

December 19, 2006 4:06 PM

Anonymous brian ball said...

Lots of people do it and do it successfully. And many of those do it without the help of MacHeist or MacZot.

Name 50 independent developers and their apps who are surviving on their own.

Does 50 sounds like a lot, in a market serving 20,000,000 Mac users?

My point is, at some point, you need to make marketing a priority. No single promotion (Heist or ZOT) will make any app successful. Marketing just means.. showing up identifiably in the market, and letting people know you're there. It's the, hopefully interesting, conversation that helps people take interest in you and your product.

December 19, 2006 4:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can name 66 (as of the time of writing), see the following link:

December 19, 2006 4:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Name 50 independent developers and their apps who are surviving on their own.

I think your kidding yourself if you dont think there are 50 examples.
Yes you have to use marketing at some point, But that doesnt mean you need to sell copies of your app for 50c at MacHeist or sell it heavily discounted at MacZot.

Marketing doesnt mean you need to give someone else half(or more) of the profits.

I'm part of a small indpendant mac development company. Between us we have 12 years of marketing experience with large companies. Because of our marketing experience we know that there is little long term benefit from giving away or selling heavily discounted products. Instead we believe that if you make a really good product that people want then you dont always need alot of marketing to make it successful.
Maybe we are wrong but its worked for us....

December 19, 2006 6:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, yes, the envelope has been pushed. You can't just develop a cool app anymore and expect to quit your day job.

LOL, the MacZOT/MacHeist guy admits that he's trying to hurt the shareware scene…

Apple, with 150+ retail stores is moving too fast for the individual developer to be a coder, designer, marketer. But, help is on the way. It just might look at first, like highway robbery.

…and turn it into a mafia-style protection racket? Did he seriously just say this?

I guess you have to admire the candor.

December 19, 2006 6:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

all this quarreling and flaming has just made me look at Delicious Library in detail, as a customer. I don't have a use for it yet, but it is evident that lots of people like me will find it useful, and buy it.

December 20, 2006 1:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if the MacHeist developers would have minded if we all put a dollar in an envelope and sent it off to each of them and then wrote a cheque for $12.50 and sent it to our favourite charities. After that, we could search the web for illegel cracks and use their Apps. I can't see why they would be upset. Thats around about the same amount of money they received from each person participating in MacHeist. Only people I see hurt in all this is the bloodthirsty marketers.

December 20, 2006 12:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you know what gals me the most? it's that gruber and their ilk are bound and determined to try to make ME feel bad about the software i bought, the charities i supported, etc. whatever. gruber's latest post just makes me want to buy a license of delicious library for every member of my friggin' family just to shove it up his rear... metaphorically speaking, of course.

by the way, last i checked, NO ONE in the heist needs to tell ANYONE ANYTHING about the amount made except the IRS next year. so get over yourselves. you're NOT journalists digging into a scandal. you're opinionated writers with a keyboard and an axe to grind.


December 21, 2006 8:08 AM

Anonymous Mark Stultz said...

Yay, I enjoyed your little bit on the GameTrailer's video footage of the Childs Play charity event.

December 21, 2006 1:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo' momma so ugly she speaks WIN16... natively!

December 28, 2006 2:37 AM

Blogger JonHendry said...

It doesn't take a marketing genius to sell stuff at a heavy discount.

A marketing genius is a guy who can sell things at a heavy markup.

The MacHeist/MacZot people are the former.

They're not marketers like Steve Jobs. They have more in common with a dollar store. Or the guy on the sidewalk in the city selling bootleg DVDs for $5, although I'll grant that they're usually selling legit product, because they're able to convince software developers that with their marketing help they'll be BIG $TAR$. Kinda like a porn producer tells the girls off the bus.

January 05, 2007 8:03 AM

Blogger Wil Shipley said...


Did you seriously just compare me to a young girl tricked into making porn? Really? I mean, seriously now. Did you just go there?

I'm kind of sad you couldn't work in 9/11 or Hitler.

January 05, 2007 9:34 AM

Blogger JonHendry said...

"I'm kind of sad you couldn't work in 9/11 or Hitler."

I'm thinking I'm thinking....

Okay, you're not like a young girl tricked into porn. You're definitely an in-control star like Jenna Jameson. Yes, the Jenna Jameson of Mac Software. I went there.

But some other developers clearly have more in common with the waifs off the bus.

(It's just a metaphor! I kid because I love.)

And you have to admit, most of their 'genius' marketing has been directed at the developers, not the end users. It doesn't take *that* much marketing skill to run a deep discount retailer, after all. (The main skill is that involved in getting suppliers to cut *their* prices.)

As I said, the real marketing geniuses get the customer to pay a premium. And it's the developers that are paying the premium, after the marketing spiel makes its handwavy claims about the value added by the MacHeists/MacZot/etc.

By the way, was your bandwidth used for the app downloads, or did MacHeist host the downloads?

January 05, 2007 11:54 AM

Blogger Wil Shipley said...

MacHeist didn't just slap a bunch of apps in a box and put it on a shelf. I wouldn't have participated.

They built a site with a fun theme and got a bunch of publicity, way before they ever started selling anything. I thought this was clever. Reasonable people can disagree on whether the site was fun or not, but they certainly did more than just bundle a bunch of apps.

January 05, 2007 1:40 PM

Blogger R2K said...

: )

January 12, 2007 11:14 AM

Blogger Heidi on Vashon said...

There is no such thing as bad publicity--what's needed is good damage control! Nice observation on MacHeist. I'm sure most agree.

Also, God Bless the Puget Sound Shipleys! Lord there are lots of you around these parts!

January 15, 2007 10:04 PM

Anonymous Annerose said...

Thanks, Thanks, Thanks

January 18, 2007 11:46 AM


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